Today marks the 10th anniversary of the murder of Constable Ronan Kerr in Omagh in 2011 and detectives from the PSNI’s Serious Crime Branch are making a renewed appeal for information.
The 25-year-old officer died after a bomb exploded under his car as he left his apartment in Highfield Close at 3.45pm on Saturday, April 2, 2011 to go to work in Enniskillen.
The officer now leading the investigation, Detective Chief Inspector John Caldwell, from the Major Investigation Team, said that he still believes there are witnesses in the community who may hold the key to vital evidence.
He said: “Ten years ago today Ronan left his home to travel to work. His job was to protect the community. Despicably, people living in his own community planned and plotted to kill him simply because he was a police officer bravely going out every day to protect people and make communities safer places to live and work.
“No one deserves to be murdered because of how they earn their respectable living and I would ask those living in the Omagh area, who know vital information about the bomb attack and those involved, to bring it forward to police on this 10 year anniversary. It is never too late to do the right thing.
“Ronan’s mum and family deserve to have some closure after a decade of intolerable grief. It won’t take away their pain nor will it bring Ronan back, but seeing someone brought to justice for his sickening murder will allow them to close that chapter of the process at least.
“Their suffering continues every day and they will forever miss their son and brother. I appeal to anyone who has information to search your conscience and bring it to police. I also make a direct appeal to the family and friends of the murderers to come forward. Search your conscience, as now is the time that common humanity should override misplaced loyalty.
“Give us the information we need to take this investigation forward and place these violent terrorists before the courts.”
Detectives have made a significant amount of progress in the investigation into the murder of Ronan over the last 10 years. Since the investigation into Constable Kerr’s murder and a series of linked incidents began, the enquiry has generated a substantial amount of investigative activity: 8,203 items have been seized; 15,539 individuals have featured in the investigation; 12,754 investigative actions have been generated; 122 searches of houses, vehicles and land have been conducted; 19 arrests have been made and one person has been jailed for offences linked to the overall investigation.
“Detective Chief Inspector Caldwell added: “However we are still particularly interested in the origin of some of the component parts of the bomb, and how they were sourced.
“We have already made good progress in tracking how the terrorists came into possession of these parts, as well as establishing their relationship with a local crime gang in the Omagh area.
“However, I believe there are still potential witnesses who may be able to assist police in this line of enquiry. The key to putting people before a court charged with Ronan’s murder lies with local communities in Omagh and east Tyrone.”
Chief Constable Simon Byrne paid tribute to Ronan: “My thoughts today are very much with Ronan’s mother Nuala, his siblings and wider family circle and friends. Ronan’s family deserve to see his terrorist killers behind bars where they belong.
“Major Investigation Team detectives will follow any new evidence. They have conducted a lengthy and complicated investigation incorporating several linked incidents including attempts to murder other police officers, a bomb attack, arms finds and armed robberies. There is real potential to bring other people before the courts, but this is heavily dependent on people in the communities of Omagh and east Tyrone coming forward to talk to my officers about anything they know, particularly about the origin and sourcing of the component parts of the bomb.”
Major Investigation Team detectives will follow any new evidence. They have conducted a lengthy and complicated investigation incorporating several linked incidents including attempts to murder other police officers, a bomb attack, arms finds and armed robberies. There is significant potential to bring other people before the courts and I would encourage people in the communities of Omagh and east Tyrone to come forward with anything they know, particularly about the origin and sourcing of the component parts of the bomb.”
Anyone with information is asked to contact detectives in Serious Crime Branch at the Maydown police station on the non-emergency number 101. Alternatively, information can also be provided to the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 which is 100% anonymous and gives people the power to speak up and stop crime.